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2017 FMLA/CFRA Master Class: Advanced Skills for Employee Leave Management in California
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San Diego | Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Morning Focus: Mastering FMLA Fundamentals
Afternoon Focus: FMLA Compliance Scenarios and Case Studies for Real-World Application
Think employee leave management is a one-time policy issue? Be careful! New and confusing regulations, conflicting court decisions, and increasing employee abuse of FMLA/CFRA protections means family and medical leave will remain one of HR’s biggest management headaches.
To help you master your obligations and avoid costly penalties, the publisher of your state's Employment Law Letter has crafted a cost-effective and engaging solution: 2017 FMLA/CFRA Master Class Advanced Skills for Employee Leave Management in California. This intensive day-long workshop provides the comprehensive knowledge you need to master real-life issues. Experienced attorneys will provide substantive instruction on fundamental FMLA compliance principles in light of new and existing regulations, court rulings, and application of this far-reaching law. You’ll engage with your instructors and your peers, solving challenges you face day in and day out concerning intermittent leave, return to work, employee performance, and much more.
This event teaches employee leave management essentials while instilling the confidence you need to make the right coverage calls, control abuse and fraud, answer the toughest questions from employees and your executive colleagues, and avoid the expensive missteps that have devastated other employers.
You’ll enhance your advanced-practitioner skill set when you attend this satisfaction-guaranteed event and learn:
- How to judge a “serious health condition” the way a real judge would, and eliminate disputes about what does and doesn’t constitute it
- The latest FMLA/CFRA revisions, so you don’t risk noncompliance
- What recent FMLA/CFRA court decisions really mean, so you can adjust your policies accordingly
- Why FMLA/CFRA recordkeeping continues to trip up even the savviest human resource managers, and some solutions to avoid similar mistakes
- How to tame the intermittent leave and reduced schedule beasts, and put a stop to abuse and fraud
- How FMLA/CFRA, ADA, and state workers’ comp laws overlap, so you can avoid violations
- And more!
Master Class Agenda
7:30 – 8:30 a.m.
Grab a cup of coffee from our refreshment station, get situated, and get ready to learn!
Mastering FMLA Fundamentals
8:30 – 9:00 a.m.
FMLA Eligibility: Granting FMLA Leave When It’s Due and Getting It Right under the Rules
Employers often neglect to take the critical first step in administering FMLA leave—determining employee eligibility. Taking defined, consistent steps in determining employee eligibility in the first place helps employers not only properly deny leave when workers don’t qualify, but also grant leave for a period that is reasonable and necessary. Additionally, eligibility for leave to care for covered family members has changed in recent years as the definition of family member has been altered by FMLA regulations, court decisions, and changes in the family structure.
In this opening session, we’ll explain these developments and how to adjust your policies and practices to ensure compliance with the changing regulatory, legal, and practical landscape.
- How to determine FMLA eligibility quickly and easily
- How the FMLA rules and related court decisions define who qualifies as a covered family member
- How to coordinate leave for workers caring for adult children
- The rules related to determining in loco parentis status
- How to coordinate state and federal leave when covered family members differ
9:00 – 10:00 a.m.
Managing Serious Health Conditions and Medical Certifications
At the heart of many FMLA leave requests is the serious health condition. The FMLA regulations do offer guidance and allow you to require medical certification, yet there are a multitude of possible reasons for needing FMLA leave. Assessing the information requires keen judgment, and this session will show you how to make these crucial calls. You’ll learn about:
- Illnesses and injuries that may be serious health conditions, even though the regulations say they generally aren’t
- How many health conditions it takes to be “serious”
- How often your employee needs to see a healthcare provider
- What to do if a medical certification is incomplete or unclear
- Your options if an employee or doctor doesn’t cooperate with obtaining the required certifications
- When you may require employees to provide recertification of a serious health condition
- The “do’s and don’ts” of return-to-work certifications
10:00 – 10:15 a.m.
10:15 – 11:00 a.m.
Meeting FMLA Deadlines: Notification, Curbing Abuse, and Preventing Claims
FMLA is ruled by deadlines for giving and receiving information, for measuring how much leave has been taken, and for determining how much leave employees have remaining in a given year. A good grasp of timing rules—and learning how to monitor other key areas of FMLA usage—can help you prevent abuse of FMLA entitlements and fend off litigation. This session covers:
- How to give the four kinds of FMLA notices—on time and on point
- What to do if an employee refuses FMLA designation
- Selecting the best type of FMLA leave year for your organization
- Counting holidays that fall during leave
- Rules regarding “making up” FMLA leave
- Handling suspected FMLA abuse without running afoul of the law
- How to legally discharge employees who are on or just returned from FMLA leave
11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Mastering the Tough FMLA Issues
It’s one thing to grasp individual FMLA rules, but another thing entirely to put those pieces together in the real world. For example, intermittent leave seems pretty straightforward on paper, but how employers really manage it is another story. How is intermittent leave certified and calculated? What about temporary light-duty positions and fluctuating work schedules? Reinstatement after leave? And finally, how do you handle an FMLA investigation by the DOL? This session will help you learn:
- How to manage intermittent and reduced schedule leave
- How to handle leave duration
- How to calculate leave for fluctuating work schedules
- The rules regarding substitution of various types of paid leave for FMLA leave
- When employees have job reinstatement rights and when they do not
- Compliance in joint employment cases
- Tips on how to effectively manage an FMLA investigation by the DOL
12:15 – 1:15 p.m.
Networking Power Lunch (meal included with your registration)
1:15 – 2:30 p.m.
All Together Now: Coordinating FMLA with ADA, Workers’ Comp, and State Family Leave Laws
FMLA seems pretty comprehensive, but it’s not the only law that applies when employees need time off for their own serious health condition, to care for a family member, or for other reasons. You need to know when other laws create different obligations—and how their requirements work in tandem with FMLA. In this session we’ll cover:
- Why FMLA serious health conditions are more likely to qualify as disabilities under the ADAAA
- When you should offer leave as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA, including a discussion of recent ADA leave cases and agency guidance
- How to offer accommodations other than leave without violating the FMLA
- When you can require employees to take FMLA leave concurrently with workers’ comp leave
- The latest developments in state leave laws, including paid sick leave, family leave, and other trends
2:30 – 2:45 p.m.
Intensive Workshop Addressing the Real-Life Application of FMLA Rules, DOL Regulations, and Court Rulings
2:45 – 4:00 p.m.
Applying Your Knowledge
During this highly interactive portion of the FMLA Master Class, our esteemed faculty of labor and employment attorneys will walk you through a series of scenarios demonstrating the real-life FMLA issues that stump even the most seasoned of HR practitioners. You’ll have the opportunity to discuss issues with your trainers and fellow attendees to determine the correct course of action to take, based on the facts presented and your knowledge of fundamental FMLA compliance principles.
Recent court rulings, long-standing case law precedent, DOL interpretations, opinion letters, and regulations—as well as the trainers’ own experiences in advising clients—are interwoven into this engaging afternoon workshop with the goal of providing you with actionable insights into the tricky FMLA issues that come up in daily work life.
You’ll dive deep into:
1. Addressing issues with medical certifications and what to do when:
- Certification submitted by employee is not sufficient
- Employee does not return the certification
- Employee refuses to update the certification if need for leave changes
- Employee does not submit fitness-for-duty certification at end of leave
2. Intermittent leave
- Certification of need for intermittent leave
- Specific information on when leave is needed, expected frequency and duration
- What to do if an employee uses more leave than expected
- Abuse of intermittent leave (Mondays and Fridays, before and after holidays)
3. Reduced schedule leave
- Certification and specific information on reduced hours, expected duration
- Updating certification
- Tracking leave time
4. FMLA during the holidays and shutdowns
- How to “count FMLA leave during holidays
- Administering FMLA leave during extended plant or office shutdowns
- Determining whether an employee on FMLA leave during holidays is entitled to holiday pay
5. Addressing performance issues that arise prior to the request for leave
- What to do when an employee requests FMLA leave in the midst of the disciplinary process or just before discipline or termination steps are taken
- Addressing performance issues that arise during intermittent or reduced schedule leave
- Addressing performance issues discovered while an employee is on leave
- Reductions in force while employee is on FMLA leave
6. Return to work—what to do if an employee is:
- Not able to return to work at end of leave (ADA considerations)
- Cleared to return to work with restrictions
- Temporarily unable to perform essential functions
- Unable to perform essential functions in the long-term
4:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Final Questions and Closing
Have lingering questions about points raised during this intensive FMLA hypo-driven workshop or want to revisit a fundamental concept or two from earlier in the day? Take advantage of this opportunity to get clarification from the attorneys before you wrap up for the day.
Your California Faculty with Fisher & Phillips LLP
Danielle Garcia is an associate in the San Diego office. Her practice focuses on representing clients in all aspects of labor and employment law, including traditional labor relations management, harassment, and discrimination. She has experience defending cases in state court, federal court, arbitration proceedings, and before the National Labor Relations Board. Danielle’s client base spans over the construction industry, law firms, and several other industries. Danielle also represents Native American Tribes pertaining to employment and labor law concerns, and understands the unique needs of the Tribal community.
Danielle also devotes a considerable amount of her practice to counseling employers to avoid costly litigation. Danielle educates executives, human resource teams, and other corporate groups on how to fairly and effectively manage their workforces through things like:
- Creating and implementing employee handbooks and policies;
- Advising regarding hiring, performance evaluation, documentation, and discharge decisions;
- Managing leave issues and developing strategies to prevent leave abuse;
- Auditing for compliance with various wage-and-hour laws; and
- Training HR and management.
Jim Fessenden is a partner in the firm’s San Diego office. A large portion of Jim’s practice is focused on ensuring the firm’s clients are able to conduct their business while avoiding the threat of employment litigation. Jim regularly counsels clients through difficult terminations, drafts complex pay and bonus plans for executives, and creates policies designed to protect the firm’s clients.
When clients do find themselves in litigation, Jim has a well-documented track record of successfully representing employers in all aspects of litigation in both state and federal courts, including at the trial and appellate levels. Jim is frequently retained to handle some of the most complex cases, particularly class actions, where his work has resulted in class action claims being dismissed both at the pleading stage and at the certification stage.
David Monks is a partner in the firm's San Diego office. He counsels employers on a wide variety of matters, including employee discipline and termination, wage and hour issues, disability accommodation protocols, family and medical leave issues, investigations of harassment and other misconduct, and independent contractor issues.
In addition, David has substantial experience defending employers and managers against lawsuits and administrative claims involving discrimination, harassment, defamation, breach of contract, and violations of wage-and-hour laws.
As an avid proponent of proactive training and compliance, he presents training seminars on preventing harassment and discrimination in the workplace, workplace investigations, wage-and-hour compliance, disability management and accommodation, and other areas.
David's practice has included assisting religious organizations, restaurants, hotels, school districts, credit unions, homeowner associations, professional employer organizations, franchisors, retail markets, and medical practices.
Danielle Moore is a partner in the firm's San Diego office and co-chairs the Fisher Phillips firm-wide Women's Initiative and Leadership Council.
She represents and counsels employers in all aspects of labor and employment law, including employment discrimination, wrongful termination, harassment, retaliation, and wage-hour class action lawsuits, as well as employment handbook and personnel policy preparation, and general preventive advice including hiring, discipline and termination practices. Danielle has experience litigating matters in state and federal courts, state administrative tribunals, and in arbitration.
Danielle regularly conducts management training and lectures on employment issues. She also teaches an employment law course at San Diego State University and serves on the Human Resources Advisory Board for the University. Danielle also serves on the Board of Directors for the PHCC Academy and the Lawyers Club of San Diego. Danielle also serves as President of the Lawyers Club’s North County Chapter.
Aaron Olsen is a partner in the firm's San Diego office. He counsels and defends employers of all sizes on the full spectrum of employment issues.
Aaron's experience includes:
- Defending numerous companies ranging in size from small, family-owned local restaurants to Fortune 500 corporations on wage-hour class action claims and PAGA cases;
- Defeating class certification motions and obtaining summary judgment on behalf of employers in wage-hour class actions;
- Defending PEOs on wage-hour and wrongful termination claims brought by worksite employees;
- Defending employers on claims that newly-hired employees misappropriated trade secrets obtained from their prior employers;
- Representing employers in actions to protect trade secrets, including obtaining temporary restraining orders, preliminary injunctions and permanent injunctions;
- Defending employers in actions alleging discrimination and wrongful termination;
- Counseling employers on compliance with employment laws and providing trainings for management employees;
- Aaron regularly lectures on employment law issues and also teaches an employment law course at San Diego State University.
Adam Sloustcher is an associate in the firm's San Diego office. He represents employers in all aspects of labor and employment litigation, including employment discrimination, wrongful termination, harassment, retaliation, and wage-hour lawsuits and workplace violence injunctions. Adam also counsels clients and develops measures to prevent litigation and governmental investigations.
Miranda Watkins is an associate in the firm's San Diego office. Miranda is passionate about counseling businesses of all sizes on their day-to-day labor and employment issues, offering preventative advice and tools to protect employers. She also litigates cases on variety of issues, including disability discrimination claims, leaves of absences, wage and hour claims, retaliation and wrongful termination. She represents employers in a range of industries in all areas of labor and employment law. Before joining Fisher Phillips, Miranda worked as an associate attorney for a national law firm, focusing on employment and general civil litigation matters.
Megan Winter is a partner in the firm's San Diego office. She handles administrative and civil employment matters before state and federal courts and government agencies.
Her practice involves representation of employers in a variety of matters including harassment and discrimination litigation, wage and hour class actions, and family and medical leave law.
Megan also assists employers in developing workplace policies and procedures, and she regularly advises employers regarding day to day employment issues and ways to avoid employment claims and litigation.
Megan also frequently provides supervisor training for employers. Upon graduating from law school, Megan was awarded the ABA/BNA Award for Excellence in the Study of Labor and Employment Law.
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